It’s been a busy week this week so only two houses for you to look around today. On Monday I went to Nottingham with Sophie Robinson (judge on The Great Interior Design Challenge and one of my guest bloggers) for a project we are doing with Hillary’s Blinds later in the year. We were chatting so much we got on the wrong train and the entire project was nearly a non- starter. All I am allowed to say is if you were thinking of redoing your blinds this year then hold fire for a few months as there are some exciting ideas coming down the line.
Then I flew to Milan with Smeg for 24 hours to interview their CEO Vittorio Bertazzoni, the grandson of the founder of the company). He hardly ever gives interviews so it was great to be able to speak to him before the new flagship London store – Smeg products over three floors – opens in September and as he launched a new collection of small appliances designed by Dolce e Gabbana and all handpainted in Sicily. Check my instagram for a couple of pictures and to see me making pasta like a pro. Not
quite at all.
Anyway, enough of that. Houses. This is a warehouse apartment in Hackney, east London which is on the market via The Modern House for £1,200,000. It’s a three bedrooom open plan space with huge windows, underfloor heating and recessed balconies. And you know what else? Oh apart from the built-in wardrobes and en suite bathroom? Well there’s a communal roof terrace and a pool up there as well. Yes it’s outdoor and yes it’s heated. Do you even need to read on? I mean £1.2 mill of fantasy lottery money’s a steal isn’t it?
Anyway, there are a couple of points I wanted to make about this place. Firstly I’m guessing you’ll all hate the ceilings. That’s fine you can paint them. But it’s not that – it’s the red sofa. A bold choice but it looks brilliant. I was reading a fashion blogger once who said she bought a red handbag because red is basically a brilliant neutral and goes with almost every outfit you own bringing a splash of colour to monochrome and adding more colour if you are that way inclined already. I wasn’t sure and then I told my book agent this and she immediately went out and bought a red bag and loves it. So it must be true.
The same is true of a red sofa. If your walls and floors are all fairly neutral then instead of buying a sensible grey sofa (I know guilty as charged but I do also have a pink chaise longue so I’m not all that sensible) and adding colour with cushions, why not make the sofa do the singing and calm it down with gorgeous patterned monochrome cushions?
Moving through to the second bedroom which is currently used as a study. It’s a great little space although it needs more plants. Especially when you look at the balcony of the bedroom below. It would be like waking up in Bali every morning. Until you remembered it was actually Hackney. Or should that be Hackni? Still if you have a budget then add plants into it. I now wish I had a balcony to put the plants on.
Where shall we go next? As there are two this week, let’s do town and country. We’re off to Withington, near Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, to this typically chocolate boxy cottage which is on the market for £660,000 via Savills. Wait till you see inside though because it’s not the usual beige and red shabby chic affair. It’s much more modern than that.
See it’s so typically British and cottagey isn’t it? But come inside. The owners have lightened up what can often be a small dark space with low ceilings by keeping everything pale and using lots of texture.
In the dining room they have painted over the beams which is apparently how they would have looked originally. Don’t quote me on that, but I have read that it was a later affectation to leave them in dark wood as a feature. It definitely helps raise the ceiling in this room though.
Do you want to talk about the exposed brick? I have mixed feelings. I keep thinking it’s a fad that’s going to move on and it keeps not moving on. I think I can live with the bricks but I’m not sure about the fancy effect which is trying to look as if the plaster fell off the wall and they just decided to go with it. It’s trying a little too hard.
The beams are dark in here but that works too as they bring definition and anyway sitting rooms are meant to be cosy. Although we need to talk about the giant pepper pots either side of the fire. Or perhaps not? Having looked at them again I’m not sure what we’d say. I do love the soft greys and layering of throws and rugs to make it more cosy and interesting. It manages to be both cosy and cottagey and modern at the same time which is a feat not often pulled off. Or even tried, I might add.
Then a burst of colour in this room with this green dresser which works perfectly in here. There are a lot of lights though. I might be tempted to remove the ceiling fitting. When the ceilings are low it’s best not to draw attention to that and stick to table and floor lights which give better ambient light anyway.
Finally, a restful white bedroom. More textures, subtle colours and quite the opposite of what you would expect to see in a country cottage. And let’s not forget it’s almost half the price of the one above and also has three bedrooms. So, cue drum roll (if I had a little more time I would actually try and work out how to link to a drum roll sound effect) which is it to be this week? Town. Or. Country?